Maki Asakawa - s/t 2xLP
Label: Honest Jon's
Wow, were we ever blown away by this release! Maki Asakawa may be known to Japanese aficionados of cultish '70s blues and jazz, translating American blues standards into Japanese, and striking a defiant diva-ish figure like Nina Simone or Billie Holiday, but she was a total surprise to us. She recorded and performed up until 2010 where she died of heart failure right before a live performance.
Her songs take you to that inner place of deep complex moods. Keiji Haino is reportedly a big fan, so that should tell you something. Honest Jon's has done a great service by compiling this great survey of her early work from 1969-1986 that showcases a range of moods from torch songs to groovy psych jazz to some lovely haunting chanson invoking everything heady, heavy, and slow. The bluest of the Blues. So highly recommended!!!